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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

SWOP Demands Community Voices Be Heard Regardless of District Court Decision on Albuquerque's Redistricting

Yesterday, Second Judicial District Court Judge Nan Nash heard arguments on whether or not the City of Albuquerque will be required to redistrict before its October 4th, 2011 election, or will be permitted to implement its decision to delay drawing up new City Council districts based on 2010 census until the October 2013 municipal election. The hearing was prompted by a lawsuit filed by The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to force the City, like other government entities, to redraw district boundaries in a timely manner.

The ACLU considers that decision unfair because the two Council districts on the West Side have more than 80,000 people in each district, while the other seven districts have between 50,000 and 55,000 people.

"The voters are not going to be equally represented on the City Council, and that goes to the very heart of our city government," said ACLU lawyer David Freedman. "This is particularly important to those on the West Side who have been grossly under represented for many, many years. Putting it off is a travesty."

Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP) released a statement yesterday pushing for public input no matter what the court decides.

"Our main concern is that Judge Nash takes into consideration the importance of public input into the redistricting process of the City of Albuquerque," says George Lujan, SWOP's spokesperson. "Regardless of which way the court rules, it must ensure that the voting rights of historically disenfranchised communities, particularly Chicano and Native Americans, must be taken into consideration.  This requires an open process with extensive public participation."

SWOP, a 31 year old community based social justice organization, noted that it has been convening community meetings to discuss Albuquerque's redistricting process for the last 5 months. "We've been preparing to ensure that we have our voices heard," Luján stated. 

SWOP has created a map that is constitutional; adds a greatly needed even district to the west side-district 8; upholds one person one vote; and upholds minority voting strength by adding another electable majority-minority district that is reflective of the demographic shift that the 2010 Census showed. SWOP is planning on officially introducing the redistricting proposal to the city, and is planning on giving public testimony to ensure that community interests are heard. 

"A big question for us is whether we will be able to give substantive public testimony, after this case concludes," Luján said.

The hearing before Judge Nash continues today.

July 12, 2011 at 12:57 PM in City of Albuquerque, Legal Issues, Redistricting | Permalink

Comments

"whether or not the City of Albuquerque will be required to redistrict before its October 4th, 2011 election, or will be permitted to implement its decision to delay drawing up new City Council districts based on 2010 census until the October 2011 municipal election."

Aren't these the same thing? Maybe they mean the October 2013 municipal election?

Posted by: Michelle meaders | Jul 12, 2011 6:42:57 PM

Oops my bad. Fixed

Posted by: barb | Jul 12, 2011 10:36:19 PM